A Case of the Junes: Can the St. Louis Cardinals Reverse Their Swoon?

With every single off-day of this month taking place on a Monday, the MLB schedule-makers gave a whole new meaning to that old Office Space line, "a case of the Mondays." This whole month has seemed a Monday with its contagion infecting the whole St. Louis Cardinals team. The Cards, it seems, have had a case of the Junes.

Using the arbitrary dividing point of the calendar changing, June has been a brutal month for the Redbirds and the club's fans. A lineup that has missed David Freese for the month's entirety as well as Matt Holliday, Allen Craig, Nick Punto, and Albert Pujols for large chunks has struggled, posting a measly line of:

.233 BA / .298 OBP / .384 SLG / .682 OPS / .300 wOBA

That team wOBA is the ninth worst in all of baseball for the month.The early season production that equated that of an offensive juggernaut invoking the heady MV3 days of 2004 has given way to a hobbled attack in the wake of a spate of injuries. Sure, the .262 BABIP is the fifth-worst in all of baseball for the month, and that's kind of heartening, but the offense needs David Freese more than it should need David Freese largely due to it now missing Pujols and Craig so terribly much.

At least the offense has an excuse, what with the injuries and all. The pitching staff doesn't have much of one. Eduardo Sanchez went down with a nebulous shoulder injury--and isn't that really the most terrifying kind in the post-Mulder era? Also, Kyle McClellan's magic act took a turn on the disabled list, but Lance Lynn was not terrible in K-Mac's stead. For June, here are the numbers for the pitching staff as a whole:

4.95 ERA / 4.49 FIP / 3.95 xFIP / 68.2 LOB%

That ERA ranks dead last in all of the big-leaguers, as does the FIP. The Cardinals' team xFIP for June ranks tenth-worst. The 68.2 LOB% is the second-worst in baseball. With a .295 BABIP, one would hope that luck would dictate more runners stranded, especially since the club's 6.16 K/9 in June is the third-lowest in the majors.

Miguel Batista has been excised from the roster and replaced with Lynn, who turned in an excellent performance on Friday night after Mitchell Boggs bailed out Jake Westbrook. In describing performance for the month June, however, one wouldn't be too far off-base in declaring Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia to be the only pitchers pitching well. By FIP, Jake Westbrooke (4.71 in June) has pitched about as well as McClellan (4.62). By xFIP, Westy's 3.89 is much better than K-Mac's 4.44. Despite how he labored on Friday, there is some hope for the former Indian. For Kyle Lohse, on the other hand, June has been a brutal evening out in performance. His 5.47 ERA and 6.52 FIP are as ugly as the darkest days of the Lohse contract hating bandwagon. Meanwhile, Garcia and Carpenter are pitching quite well, no matter whether you believe in earned runs or fielding independence:

Carpenter:  7.20 K/9, 1.80 BB/9, 3.60 ERA, 2.82 FIP, 3.21 xFIP, .272 BABIP, 66.2 LOB%

Garcia:  7.18 K/9, 2.59 BB/9, 2.59 ERA, 2.63 FIP, 3.17 xFIP, .303 BABIP, 67.4 LOB%

The batting cavalry arrives in Baltimore with Freese and Punto taking their rightful places on the 25-man roster and, hopefully, the starting lineup. This will undoubtedly help the club on offense and defense. But, as with the other hot bats early in the season, neither Freese nor Punto is likely to hit at the scalding rate they were producing before their respective injuries. What the club needs more than anything is for the pitching staff to snap out of its funk and pick up a lineup that is still hobbled by injuries. This will not be easy as the Cardinals play the franchise formerly known as the St. Louis Browns, in an interleague series featuring the DH, and taking place in a stadium with a reputation for being fast and loose with the run-scoring.

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